Welcome to 2012!
Puerto Morelos celebrated the new year with food, fun and fireworks. A great
The town is
looking forward to a busy year. The country of Mexico hopes to attract more than
double the usual number of visitors with all the attention on 2012 and the Mayan
prophecies. Mexico's tourism department stresses it does not believe the world
will end this year, but invites everyone to come to Mexico.
Sounds good to
us! If you want to be here on the beach on December 21 to get a front row seat
on it all, best to book early.
I've changed the
format of the newsletter to try to make it more readable. The last issue was
difficult for some to read because it was too wide. Let me know if you have any
problems please. Also, my spell check melted down from extreme overuse and
abuse. If you see a typo, please let me know. Bad jokes are intentional and were
meant to be funny, so don't report those.
Enjoy the issue!
2012 Annual "Best of Puerto Morelos"
Survey (7th Annual!)
Time again for our annual Puerto Morelos
survey, where we try to find out what you like best about Puerto Morelos. Your
favourite places to eat, hang out or have fun.
The purpose of the survey is to find out what your fellow newsletter readers
love most about Puerto Morelos. Perhaps you have been missing something, and you
can use the survey results to plan your next trip. The most popular question we
ask is for your favourite restaurant. We're expecting this one to be extra
popular this year. For a reminder of all the restaurants in Puerto Morelos,
our complete restaurant list. (link opens in a new window)
We've made it easier to fill out our survey this year, it appears in a separate
box below. Use the scroll bar on the right to see all the questions.
Click finished when you are done, then you can go on with the newsletter...we'll
wait for you.
Please only fill out one survey per person.
"Stuffing the ballot box" will not be tolerated and those responses will be
deleted. Survey will close in early February.
To get you in the mood, here are some of the
results of last year's survey:
Favourite things to do in Puerto Morelos: Here's a partial list in alphabetical
order: be on the water, beach, bicycle, browse the bookstore, chat, chill,
daytrip, dive, drink, eat, fish, hammock, hang out, nothing, people watch, read
a book, relax, shop, snorkel, stroll, swim, veg and walk.
Favourite Restaurants: David Lau's took over the #1 spot followed by Cantina
Habanero, Pelicanos, L'Oazis and the late Hola Asia.
Favourite Place to get a drink: Top three were Cantina Habanero, Pelicanos and
Ojo de Agua.
Favourite Shop: Alma Libre Bookstore (whew!) also the Sunday Jungle Market, the
Mayan Handicraft Centre and Sofia's.
Taxi Rate Increase
Taxi fares have increased in Puerto Morelos, in
some cases dramatically. Some rates doubled and some more than doubled.
For example, taxi fare to the Botanical garden
went increased from 50 pesos to 100. Fare to Crococun went from 50 pesos to 150.
Playa Secreto is now 250, up from 130. Hotel Now Sapphire went from 90 pesos to
Some of the increases are hard to understand. Fare to Ceiba
del Mar more than doubled to 100 pesos from 40, yet fare to UNAM which is
further down the road remains at 45. A person would be way ahead to ask to go to
UNAM and just get out at Ceiba.
Fare to Rancho Sak Ol stays at 40 pesos, El Cid
goes to 100 from 60.
Fares to the highway and close to the square
remain at 20 pesos. Fare to the Jungle Market and Spa did not
increase, it remains at 50 pesos.
Here are some of the most important new fares:
20 pesos - The highway, Amar Inn, PlayaSol, Casa
de los Viajeros, Villa Shanti
100 pesos - Ceiba del Mar, El Cid, Now Jade, Botanical Garden
45 pesos - UNAM
50 pesos - Jungle Market, Villas Morelos II
250 pesos - Playa Secreto, Central Vallarta
350 pesos - Airport
400 pesos - Cancun or Playa del Carmen
700 pesos - Xel-Ha
2000 pesos - Merida/Chetumal
It is important to note that taking a taxi here is
still a relative bargain. They are an extremely convenient and speedy way to get
to your destination.
del Mar, the luxury spa on the outskirts of PoMo will be no more as of the end
of March. On March 30 it will become Desire Pearl Resort & Spa.
There are a lot
of euphoniums for what Desire offers. They call themselves a "clothing optional,
couples only resort with secluded ambiance" It is also referred to as a
"lifestyle resort", but basically it caters to people who wish to get naked and
possibly get intimate with someone other than the person they made the
reservation with. (clear enough?)
This all has the village quite concerned as Ceiba
del Mar has always been a pretty good neighbour, and their guests,
who are not obligated to take the all-inclusive option, were frequent visitors
and patrons to Puerto Morelos. Guests chose to do some of their shopping and
dining in town, supporting our small businesses. We're not sure the clothing
optional guests with their mandatory all-inclusive will be as likely to even
There is also concern about the beach in front
of the resort becoming clothing optional, as it is a very well travelled route
between PoMo and the big resorts and vacation homes north of us.
Desire already has a resort to the north
at Petempich, but it is much more isolated from the town.
The beaches of Mexico belong to the people of
Mexico, and as I understand it, public nudity is against the law, so I am not
sure how this is allowed.
Most of us really don't care what people do in
the privacy of their own room or even on top of their own refrigerators, but we do
not want anyone feeling uncomfortable walking our magnificent beach or being
discouraged from finding our town.
After a whole lot of researching, we have started carrying some
special gourmet and food items in the store. You'll find Mexican
grown coffee, hot chocolate, hard-to find clear vanilla,
Mayan honey, and a selection of locally made hot sauces.
We are also now carrying the popular Chimay hot
Folks north of the border clamour for this stuff. Chimay makes the
hottest habanero known to man, and they also make flavourful sauces
for more sensitive palates. Chimay Salsa Habanera comes in four
flavours, colors and levels of spiciness to suit your palate: Negra
la menos picante (black, the least spicy), verde la poco picante
(green, a little spicy), roja la muy picante (red, very spicy),
amarilla la extra picante (yellow, extra spicy).
Our most popular sauce is a mini four-pack in a woven basket for
just 100 pesos. Great gift for the foodie in your life, or a great
souvenir of your Mexican vacation.
- We're open 7 days a week and different hours!
We're not quite open 24 hours, but
we are 7 days a week with the new hours. 11:00am to 2:30pm and
3:30pm to 8:00pm every day. Even Sunday!
Please note that we are
often closed daily between 2:30 & 3:30, though you may find us in.
hoping that by closing for less hours in the afternoon we won't miss
as many day trippers into PoMo from Cancun and Playa. Come see us!
Special Book Orders
We have finally found a supplier who can do the impossible. That is get
books to us reliably in Puerto Morelos. We can now order most any
title and receive it at the bookstore in about a week at a
surprisingly low cost.
We are ordering new books for the store about once a month and we
can bring in books for you too! Depending on the number of books you
order, shipping and duty will be between $3 and $5 US per book.
There is no sales tax or any other fees. This is much quicker and
cheaper than any other source we have found, including Amazon.
Our next order will be soon. To order, just contact us to
make sure we are able to get the book you want.
Jungle Market / Jungle Spa
The Jungle Market has returned, and the
ladies in the jungle have already cooked up some surprises. They even had a
market on Christmas Day with a posada featuring Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and
a live donkey!
Don't miss this unique local event, and come
hungry, as the authentic Mayan & Mexican food is a highlight of any visit. The
market opens at 10 am and the popular dance show is at 11:00 am
Jungle Spa has been so popular, they have expanded the days that it is open and are
requesting that people make appointments either by telephone or email. This
will ensure you don't waste any time waiting for your treatment.
To make an appointment, contact Sandra at (998) 208 9148 or Cell 044 998
180-5424 or by email
Appointments are available Tuesday-Saturday and limited appointments may be
available on Sunday. The spa is closed on Monday.
Many treatments are available, from manicures and pedicures to a luxurious
aloe vera and banana leaf wrap and massage! (or a chocolate massage...does it
get any better??) For men, there is the "Mayan Macho" massage. You've never had
a massage like this! They even have special massages for young adults.
Spa prices are
much lower than you will find at your resort and proceeds go directly
to the Mayan families that work at the spa and Jungle Market.
It's easy to get out to the
jungle by car, taxi or collectivo. It's on Calle Dos (kie-yay dose) in the Zona
Urbana, which is right behind the Colonia.
Here's a map you can
print out. Taxi to the jungle from the town square is still 50 pesos. Tell driver you want to go to: Jungle Spa - Sandra (important to mention her
name) Zona Urbana.
Remember, when you pamper yourself at the Jungle Spa or buy a unique gift
at the Mayan Market, you are directly supporting Mayan families! This is a very
worthwhile venture and we hope you will support it.
New anti-money laundering laws here in Mexico require exchange houses to record
your passport number to exchange US cash for pesos. You will need a copy of your
passport to exchange cash at any exchange place in Mexico.
Just a reminder to visitors that there is no place to cash traveler's
cheques in Puerto Morelos. The easiest way to get pesos is at the Santander ATM
in front of the police station or the HSBC ATM beside the supermarket on
the square. If they are out of money, there is
another machine in the 7-11 by the gas station. There are also three ATMs in town that are not affiliated with
banks. Two are at the mall across the square from the bookstore and another is at OXXO.
Since these are not affiliated with a bank, the fees are much higher than
the Santander and HSBC machines.
Home and Condo Rentals
January and February
are high season here, though we still have some rentals available. Most of our
places book up to a year in advance for February especially, but there are some
holes in the schedule.
Many ex-pats have built their dream homes here in PM and are
willing to rent it to you! Renting a place makes you feel more like a local and
offers the convenience of cooking for yourself and
much more privacy.
Regular Beach Readers know that we feature some of these
properties on our website. There are a gazillion property rental sites out
there, but our site is unique because these are properties we know, owned
and run by people we know and trust.We
like to think we take the guesswork and risk out of renting.
We're always adding new properties to the site and new
This large suite can be rented as a one bedroom/one bath with a fold
out couch, or as a two bedroom two bath. Each bedroom has its own outside door
to allow entry or exit without disturbing others.
It has a full kitchen with pots and pans, dishes and cutlery, plus appliances
like coffee maker, toaster and juicer. Drinking water is included as well as
cable TV and high-speed wireless internet. The suite features a huge terrace with
table and chairs and comfy hammocks. All this from $695 a week in season, $450
starting in May! Click here for more
information and pictures!
Bright, Breezy One Bedroom
A big one bedroom, two bath with a loft. The loft has a fold out couch and curtains
for privacy. The couch in the living room also folds out into a bed.
Off the bedroom and the living room is a HUGE balcony with table and chairs for
four and a comfy hammock.
Of course there is a full kitchen with pots and pans, dishes and cutlery, plus
appliances like coffee maker, toaster and juicer. Drinking water is included as
well as cable TV and wireless internet. $695 a week in season, $499
starting in May!
Contact us to get your FREE listing on our website.
Ads by Google:
Restaurant News: Good news and bad news to report this month. Bad news,
Peskayito is closed and no longer making those shrimp tacos I loved. Good
news is that the very successful "Al Chimmichurri" is taking over the space,
installing a big oven. They will use that oven to make pizzas and breads for
delivery. They should be up and running by mid-February. By the way, if you want
to go to Chimmichurri, get there early...they are very busy this season. Word has
got out how good they are!
Restaurant Aldea del Mar has changed their name to Pangea.
El Pirata restaurant, an icon in PoMo is for sale.
The Casa de la Cultura will be holding their 7th annual Festival of
Music on January 26, 27, 28 and February 2, 3 & 4. We're a proud sponsor of
this event and they are looking for more sponsors. Please contact them through
for details. This is a well organized and well received event for our town. The
Casa de la Cultura offers many other learning opportunities.
Here is their complete schedule.
World Wide What: Looks like a new internet cafe is opening up across from
Wet Set Dive Shop has new owners. Former owners Paul and Jennifer Hensley
sent out an email on January 13 saying they had sold the shop and were "pursuing
other desires." Here is a link
to their announcement.
Small Town: Sometimes our duties at the bookstore go beyond books. The
other day Joanne was working when a customer came in with a toothache. Joanne
just happened to be on Facebook at the same time as Dr. Carlos, our excellent
town dentist. She sent him an instant message and Carlos was able to take the
person right away. They bought a book too. This is when you love living in a
The road into town from the highway is a bit of a mess right now, but it
is for a good cause. They are adding a separate bike lane to the road so that
cycling will not be the bone-jarring death-defying adventure it is now. This will be a great
boon to those who must commute every day to town and will make it much easier to
visit the Colonia.
Workmen waited until the height of tourist season to begin work on two
new beach accesses at the north end of town. The accesses will look like
a wooden dock leading to the beach.
Ask A Realtor: Mayan Riviera Properties will again be offering their
weekly workshop outlining how to buy property in our area. Great chance to learn
and ask your questionsabout living here full or part time. Workshops run
each Tuesday at 5:00.
Morelos II: We stopped by the showroom for the "Happy Houses" as we call
them (because of their smiling house-shaped logo) and checked out their plans.
Villas Morelos II is in operation and homes sell for as low as 450,000 pesos for
a two bedroom, one bath home. That's about $33,000 US. They also showed us their
enormous two-story model home with four bedrooms and four baths for under one
million pesos, about $73,000 US. Their next project is called Regatta. It
is on the other side of the highway, beside and behind Crococun. Regatta will be
a little higher end with a yoga centre and a jogging track. They are selling
lots for 20,000 US. The final phase will be Villas La Playa which is
located between Morelos I and II. Part of its plans call for a shopping mall
with a grocery store and movie theatres.
Swim Fans: The annual swimming
tournament in Puerto Morelos will be held February 18. They hit the water at
Cambi-Oh!: Once again we are short of change in the bookstore. We simply
can't get enough 5 & 10 pesos coins and 20 peso bills. We do not need 1 or 2
peso coins. We really did try to get some small change from our bank but the
first time we went, they had run out of coins themselves. (Really?) The second
time we went, he would not give me coins because it was after 12:00 noon.
(Whaaa?) I try to explain to people how bad the banks are here, but I think
those stories illustrate my point better than I could ever explain. If your
pockets are laden with change, bring 'em by the bookstore and we will exchange
your 5s/10s and 20's for crisp bills. Gracias!
Sailing to Cancun:The
recent road construction near Bonfil is over! Crews made quick work of an
underpass that eliminates one traffic light on the way to Cancun. The colour
scheme reminds me of a 1970's swimming pool, but the traffic flows
freely...until you hit the next traffic light...and of course you have already
passed the unnecessary police roadblock near the hotel zone...and you have
dodged all the new potholes on the road into Cancun. Sigh.
Marriage for all: For a brief period of time it looked like same-sex
marriage would be recognized in Quintana Roo. Some sharp-eyed legal experts
noticed that the civil code was gender-neutral and several couples applied for
marriage licenses. Now the Secretary of State for Quintana Roo has ordered a
review of the law, so everything is on hold. Same sex marriage is legal in
Free WiFi: It's getting even easier to stay connected in Puerto Morelos.
Many of the restaurants and our bookstore will give you free access with a
purchase, and Cablemas is now offering a free signal. Look for it around the
town square. Planet Cafe beside OXXO has computers with high-speed connections.
Bunch O' Booths: A lot of booths have sprung up around the square. Most of these booths are selling snorkel and fishing trips.
Some are selling tours. Some are selling time-share or vacation clubs. Make sure
you know the difference when you are talking to the person at these booths. If
the price of a tour or trip seems too good to be true, there may be strings attached. Check out our
Morelos Services page for good local businesses that will show you the sights
As we reported before,
Herald Cancun Edition is no more. Look for a copy of the USA Today
Cancun Edition at your hotel or convenience store. It's being put together
by the same local staff. Check out the weekend edition for "Footprints" a
special section devoted to the best in our area.
What did I miss? Let me
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Don't hate us, we've added
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control over the ads that pop up, Google decides that, and we are in no position
to tell them what to do! Please let us know though if anything odd shows up.
Please note, these ads don't begin to cover our costs for this newsletter. If
you like this newsletter, please support it by buying books at Alma Libre. Gracias!
Current Exchange Rates (At the exchange in Puerto
The real rate is closer to 14.00. You will get a better rate
from the ATM.
This Just In!
Books & Products at Alma Libre
We love keeping you up to date with our town, but it's the
books that keep us going. We're finding all sorts of new stuff this year,
these are a few of our favourites....
Just arrived! Unique Expressions of
Mexico, a beautiful booked commissioned by Xcaret to capture the
colours, traditions and celebrations of Mexico. Great book at a great
price, just 200 pesos.
Plants In The Mayan Culture, this
gorgeous book features traditional remedies, food and art of our area.
The book is locally produced, well researched and packed with
photographs. We've been looking for a book like this for years, and
we're delighted to have it now. Don't miss it, you will not find it any
New for 2012 - The Guia Roji Road Atlas.
We drive to and from Mexico from Calgary every year, and we wouldn't
even attempt it without our Guia Roji. This atlas has 49 full colour,
detailed maps of the country plus 51 maps of the major cities of Mexico.
The atlas is good quality and opens flat for easy navigating.
Don't leave home without it!
The Rough Guide to Cancun & the Yucatan
- Freshly updated and adorned with glossy photos, this is a beautiful
guidebook. Practical too with useful info on anywhere you want to go in
our area. It covers the mainstream and the out of the way places you
might otherwise miss.
also maintains a blog to keep the edition up to date. Nice!
Amphibians and Reptiles - We share
peninsula with many creatures. We've always had good books
on the mammals, birds and fish of our area and now we have a good one on
the Amphibians and Reptiles.
This one volume is in both English and
Spanish and features photos and descriptions of everything that crawls,
slithers and hops in our town.
Locally published - Only available at
Alma Libre Bookstore
Chichen Itza - We have lots of books
about the Maya and the ruins in our area. This is one of our favourites
because it has high-quality overlays that show what the Mayan temples
Check out this book
and many others published by a company in Merida. Not available
off our peninsula!
SPECIAL OFFER for Alma Libre Bookstore Customers
Cenotes of the Riviera Maya
is the best book ever written about the cenotes in our area. Beautifully
photographed, it could easily be called a coffee table book, but it is
also has all the practical information you need to explore the cenotes
whether you are swimming or diving. Many have drooled over this book, but
the hefty (500 peso) price tag kept some people away. Now author Steve
Gerrard has authorized us to lower the price. At 300 pesos, this book
is an incredible bargain and it has been flying off our shelves.
If you drive in our area, you need a map! We have excellent and detailed
maps of the Yucatan, the country of Mexico, Cancun city, Merida as well as
Belize, Guatemala, Cuba and Central America. We also have souvenir-quality
maps you can hang on the wall.
We also carry the famous "Map Chick" Riviera Maya maps, which answer the
question, "where does that road off the main highway go?"
We've added a lot of new postcards to our collection, including more
underwater shots by "Dive
Diva." We have the largest selection of Puerto Morelos postcards, and they
are all exclusive to Alma Libre. We know because we make 'em! We also have blank
greeting cards to cover any occasion you may wish to celebrate while you are in
Gift Certificates! A nice gift idea for someone who lives here is an Alma Libre Gift
certificate. Available in any amount and can be used for new or used
merchandise. We can accept payments from up north via Paypal.
The groups have grown very quickly! Friends of Puerto
Morelos just passed 860 members!If
you are on Facebook, please join our groups. We'll use them to keep you up to
date with town news between newsletters.Check
out the group for new photos of Puerto Morelos, taken by fellow visitors!
Quick! What's wrong with this picture? Not a dang thing,
except that you are not in it. What are you waiting for? Get thee to
- Check out this person perched precariously on the pinnacle of this
Cool Castle - Spotted this nice "starter castle" located
conveniently on the beach near Ceiba del Mar. Comes with four
turrets and a really big green flag. Good for people who don't mind
a little sand in the casa. Motivated sellers...that next wave could
be the big one!
Waiting Room - A
very unusual sighting can be made on the road between Ceiba del Mar
and Dreams resort. These figures will eventually be sunk off the
coast near Cancun to become an artificial reef and tourist
attraction. Now they are waiting behind a fence near the entrance to
the university research station. Learn more about the underwater
at the artist's website.
Gary McDonell - Gary and Carol lived in Puerto Morelos for many
years before moving to Playa del Carmen. Gary was well-known and popular
figure in Puerto Morelos, and very successful in timeshare sales on the
Riviera Maya. He passed away suddenly on January 6, 2012. Memorial
services were held in Playa and Winnipeg.
Gary was 64.
a reminder that we are open 7 days a week for the season. Our hours are
11:00am to 2:30pm & 3:30pm to 8:00pm EVERY DAY of the week. (Including Sunday) We are
closed between 2:30pm and 3:30 for siesta, though sometimes you may find us
We take trades every day, so our
selection is constantly changing. If you are planning a trip down, why not bring
some recent bestsellers to trade and check out our store, or plan to buy all
your reading material at Alma Libre. We got you covered!
Beach Reads is the official newsletter of Alma Libre Bookstore in Puerto
Morelos Mexico. It is mailed directly to your mailbox if you request it. Beach
Reads is published on a sporadic, seemingly random basis...but it is supposed
to be approximately monthly during the season at Puerto Morelos. The season is
November until after Easter. We do our best to publish it regularly...but we
are easily distracted...
To subscribe or make comments or suggestions or advertise your local event,
Retransmission & Redistribution of this newsletter without express written
consent is just fine by us! Send this newsletter to a friend! (or get them to
sign up for their own copy) If you like the newsletter, please support it by
buying a book at Alma Libre Bookstore.